When I was growing up, a lot of things made me incredibly anxious. One of those things was having to take medicine- particularly pills. It was something that I had to do fairly regularly, as I dealt with horrible seasonal allergies, and animal allergies. I never had an easy time taking pills, and can even remember hiding from my mom when she would disappear to get medicine for me to take (under the bed, in the closet, etc.). I would have done just about anything not to have to take pills.
It is a common, everyday action that most people take for granted … we’re talking about the act of swallowing. However, swallowing food or medicines is severely difficult for a lot of people, especially those suffering from dysphagia.
Help is Here for Breast Cancer Patients & Survivors Now Struggling to Swallow Pills
In one moment of one day, life changes … and not for the better. That’s the reality for 1 in 8 women in the U.S. who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime (National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.). In fact, it’s estimated that in 2020 more than 276,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed in women in the U.S., as well as more than 48,500 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, and that around 2,600 men would also be diagnosed. That’s thousands of Americans who now have to deal with the realities and side effects of cancer.
Helping Those Fighting Cancer to Swallow Their Medicines
With her body pumped full of chemo and skin burned from radiation, my mother was always the stoic and didn’t complain. I watched as she tried to be strong and take the pills needed to ease the pain and ward off infection, but she just couldn’t swallow them. It would take several tries to get them down and the look of pain on her face was excruciating. I would’ve given anything to help ease that pain, even just a little of it.
Oh, such a bitter pill and oh, so hard to swallow.
Back in late November, I went to Miami on a work trip. Not long after I returned, I felt awful. I was so very exhausted, I had a splitting headache, I was weak with no energy, and I was having a terrible time breathing. I had no idea what was wrong. I couldn’t remember another time when I had felt that badly.